Hey everybody,

I know how frustrating it can be learning to use a true backtension release.  I know how much time and effort must be put into the practice and proper execution of a backtension release.  I am definatly not a perfect back tension shooter, heck just today I had a lot of problems getting my back tension to go off at a local tournament.  But I have been shooting with a back tension for 2.5 yrs and i think it i may be able to help some new guys get into it with a lot less frustration than i had, by informing people of the many ways not to start learning a back tension.

 I started 2.5 yrs ago with a tru-ball ultra 3 backtension release.  I had just started to get into spot shooting and was struggling with TARGET PANIC.  Everybody gets it at one time or another, and boy is it troublesome.  I was having such a problem i almost gave up shooting all together.  Finally i was in my archery shop one day and was discussing possible ways to get rid of target panic when one of the pros that frequent the shop told me about the back tension release. 

He explained to me the ideal shot,what he called a SURPRISE SHOT. The purpose of the surprise shot was to 1 reduce the urge to punch the release creating steady grouped shots 2. reducing the ability to predict when the shot was going off enabling the shooter to keep from grabbing or torquing the bow as it arrow leaves the rest.

 It sounded like a miracle to me, like the locked door to better scores that i sttod before had just swung open.  I bought a backtension and couldn’t wait to try it.  So I got my bow, loaded an arrow, and stepped to the twenty yard line. That was my first mistake, when shooting a backtension the first few times, even if you have read all about them and seen people shoot them if you have never shot one yourself than pull a bail to five yards.  I didn’t get my bow back 6 in, when that release tripped and that arrow went straight into the wood next to the twenty yard bail.

Always start at five yards, it is the most important thing, Also take your sight off, start by just trying to get the release back.  If available have somebody who shoots a backtension CORRECTLY watch you and comment on your form and technique.  Once you are able to get it fully drawn follow these steps to help get you started, a variation or simplification of these steps is fine whatever works for you because you are the one shooting the release.

1. set your rear shoulder so that your rear forearm is parallel to the ground and in a locked comfortable position.

2. set your front shoulder/arm in a broken arm fashion, you don’t want your arm locked out, this can cause yu to strap yourself and will make it hard to use a backtension.  You only want your arm to be slightly bent.

3. set your release hand to a TOUCH POINT on your face that is easily remembered and does not move your front or rear setup.

4. Aim

5.while you continue to aim push the bow into the target with your shoulder not with your elbow as this will cause inconsistent pressure, as you focus on the x on the target, the pin may move but just focus on the target, push the bow into the target.  At the same time pull with your release hand into the wall behind you as if you are going to drive your elbow into the wall.

6. keep focusing on the target, pushing and pulling, and before your ready more than likely that shot will be gone, if you anticipated the shot, you did wnot follow correct form, maybe you pulled with your outside fing er instead of pulling straight back, this is called TRIPPING THE RELEASE.

TRIPPING THE RELEASE is the process of turning a backtension release to the point that the hinge releases the bow.  This form is inconsistent and should not be used, Although i have seen some pros shoot this way very well it is not a SURPRISE SHOT.  the whole prupose of learning the back tension is to get this surprise and reduce target panic and get better form, turning the release accomplishes none of these things.

 Afetr 2.5 yrs I am still learning my backtension and I hope to have it perfect soon, but the best thing i can suggest is to blank bail, we all hate it and nobody does it enough but it is really the best way to learn the relaese.  When you are sitting on the couch get a shoestring and simulate yourself shooting a backtension using your release and a shoestring during commercials, my coach gave me this same advice and i’ll tell you it is a lot less boring than hours of misguided blank bailing and it i find it works well.

 I hope this information helps people to better understand the advantages of a backtension and its proper use, don’t give up no matter how long it takes because eventually you’ll get it, just keep working at it.